Fairview residents were hoping for a calmer year this Canada Day after experiencing revellers urinating on their lawns, shattering bottles on their driveways and sidewalks and throwing garbage on their property in past years.
The neighbourhood is just across the street from Bower Ponds, where the annual Canada Day festivities take place.
Fairview resident Debra Rudolph said most residents are too afraid to say anything because they fear retaliation — not just on Canada Day, but afterwards.
In past years, fences have been kicked down, hedges destroyed, cars vandalized and graffiti painted in the neighbourhood during Canada Day. Last year a car alarm went off for four hours before police tracked down the owner.
Rudolph has found a dirty diaper on her lawn, cigarette butts and bags of garbage from people’s cars thrown on her property the morning after Canada Day.
During Wednesday afternoon and early evening Wednesday, Rudolph said she noticed a difference from previous years.
“It’s been really good. We’ve had the RCMP do a drive by,” Rudolph said. As of 7 p.m. she counted only one broken drink glass on her lawn — a vast improvement from last year — and people were more respectful. She still worried what might await after the fireworks in the late evening, but she gave kudos to organizers and police for keeping things calm and quiet during the afternoon and early evening.
Passes were given to residents for parking and commissionaires were stopping other cars along Kerry Wood Drive and making them turn around. No dogs or alcohol were allowed at Bower Ponds, and organizers encouraged people to take the bus.
“We are not trying to lay blame or be overly critical,” Rudolph said. “We want (Canada Day) to be enjoyed by everybody . . . If it does continue in this vein so much the better.”
Neighbour Sheila McNamee also feared what could occur late Wednesday night. She said she has witnessed young people drinking in their cars and throwing bottles on the lawn and also seen liquor stores deliver alcohol to people on the street during past Canada Days.
McNamee took all of the ornaments off her lawn so they wouldn’t be destroyed or stolen. She planned to spend Wednesday night watching the front of the house, with her son watching the back to ensure no damage was done by partygoers.
She said the attitude in Red Deer is it’s a once a year event and people outside the neighbourhood don’t see the damage as a big deal. “But it doesn’t have to happen. It’s rudeness. It’s disrespect,” McNamee said.
Dianne Fallow, Fairview Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, said people won’t leave their property on Canada Day because they feel like they have to guard it. A fire started on her yard one year after someone threw a cigarette butt on her lawn. She would like to see the alley and the path from Kerry Wood Drive each patrolled by a plain clothes police officer.
Cpl. Kathe DeHeer, a spokesperson for the Red Deer City RCMP said besides the regular watch of officers there were 10 members at the Canada Day events on foot patrol, bike patrol and in a utility vehicle. She said there were also commissionaires and extra traffic members patrolling.
DeHeer said during the afternoon things went great. A few children who were separated from their parents and then reunited and one ambulance had to get through traffic to help a person with a pre-existing medical condition. She said during the afternoon there were no problems with drinking or issues with heat-related illnesses.
“We don’t anticipate any problems,” DeHeer said.
“But because it is a special event and it is a family event we want to ensure that everybody is able to enjoy the festivities without any problems.”